Service Operations Management: The Key to Superior Customer Service

Learn how implementing service operations management can help you deliver superior customer service.

customer service for a client

Published 4 Jul 2022

What is Service Operations Management?

Service operations management is a critical function in any service industry. It involves planning, coordinating, and controlling the resources and processes required to meet customer demand. Service operations managers must continually strive for excellence and efficiency to deliver quality service and remain competitive.

As customer demands change, they must adapt as well. To achieve these goals, service operations managers must implement continuous improvement initiatives. It may involve streamlining processes, improving communication and collaboration, and implementing new technologies.

By carefully managing service operations, businesses can ensure they provide the best possible experience for their customers.

What is Operations Management?

On the other hand, operations management is concerned with the design and control of production processes. It encompasses various activities, from product design and development to manufacturing and logistics. Operations managers use multiple tools and techniques to improve efficiency and quality while addressing safety, environmental, and sustainability issues.

Operations management has also included digital information and technology management in recent years. As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, operations managers must be able to understand and utilize complex systems. With the ever-changing business landscape, operations management is an essential field that will continue to evolve in the years to come.

Difference Between Service Operations and Operations Management

The main difference between service operations and operations management is that service operations are concerned with customer service delivery. In contrast, operations management is concerned with designing and controlling production processes. Both fields are essential to the success of businesses, but they have different focus areas.

Service operations management is more customer-centric, while operations management focuses on production efficiency. Both fields use various tools and techniques to improve quality and efficiency. Still, service operations management is more concerned with customer satisfaction, while operations management is more concerned with maximizing production.

The Role of Service Managers in Service Operations

A service operations manager’s goal is to make employees’ lives as simple as possible, allowing them to work at their peak efficiency. Getting this aspect of the company right is critical. Supply chain management is essential for a firm’s overall success, regardless of industry or size.

Service management entails making operations choices daily, with numerous shifting variables complicating their decision-making. A few service management elements they must consider while attempting to do their work are as follows:

  • New workers
  • New projects
  • Delays
  • Deadlines
  • Evolving consumer needs
  • Capacity planning
  • Quality assurance

Principles Service Operations Managers Need to Follow

Service operations managers are responsible for the day-to-day running of a service organization. They need to ensure that the organization’s services are delivered effectively and efficiently and that customers are satisfied with the results. To achieve this, service operations managers need to follow several fundamental principles:

Reality

Operational management needs a holistic, end-to-end perspective. Don’t concentrate on one tool, one project, or one solution. Your problem-solving approach should aim to improve service processes that impact the organization. If you want to change how your company does business, you must understand how all the pieces fit together.

Organization

The shared characteristics of industrial field service organizations include the interconnection of their departments. Leaders should be aware that the success of their organization’s operations is not only their responsibility but also the responsibility of every employee.
An organization’s culture and values significantly impact its ability to innovate and serve customers well. A service-oriented culture will empower individuals and teams to provide excellent customer service. Leaders should promote a customer-centric culture by setting the example and rewarding employees who exceed customer expectations.

Humility

Knowing when to seek assistance and what obstacles prevent you from achieving your objectives may be the difference between success and failure in service operations management. Yes, a can-do attitude is wonderful, and attempting new things demonstrates an inventive mind, but the services industry offers little room for trial and error.
Improving service delivery and client satisfaction is a never-ending, laborious process that demands constant improvement. You can’t do this alone, and having the humility to ask for assistance when needed will pay huge dividends.

Success

Most service providers define success by market share or financial objectives. But when you look at what success is for service providers, it all comes down to the consumer. Keeping your clients satisfied and maintaining high customer loyalty rates are the keys to business growth and profitability as a service provider.

Accountability

Another critical service concept is increasing your staff’s sense of urgency. As a service operations manager, you are accountable for ensuring that your products and services meet your customers’ needs. It means that you need to respond quickly to customer requests and inquiries.
It is also essential to be proactive in solving customer problems. By being proactive, you can avoid many potential issues before they become problems. It saves time and money and builds customer trust and loyalty.

Causality

An excellent service firm knows that employee actions can affect customer satisfaction in a cause-and-effect manner. In other words, if your employees do not perform their jobs correctly, it will hurt customer satisfaction.
In contrast, if your employees are appropriately trained and motivated, they will be more likely to provide excellent service, leading to higher customer satisfaction levels.

Fundamentals

The Pareto Rule of Efficiency (also known as the 80/20 rule) is a business concept in operations management that states that 80% of success will come from sticking to standard procedures. In contrast, 20% will result from combining new methods with old processes.

This rule is significant for service organizations because it means that service quality is more likely to improve if you focus on the basics and do not try to reinvent the wheel. Focusing on the fundamentals also means clearly understanding your organization’s core competencies and using these strengths to your advantage.

Variance

Service operations managers cannot sit back and relax even when they have achieved a certain level of success and automation. This profession requires constant reinvention for individuals to do their tasks. Fresh ideas, new service models, and innovative processes will always be part of the picture in service operations management.

The best way to deal with this is to embrace change and be open to new ideas. The ability to quickly adapt to new situations will put you ahead of your competition and endear you to clients.

Managed Passion

Passion does not appear in a company’s balance sheets, quarterly reports, or investor presentation decks. It’s an intangible quality that is just as essential as the rest of the organization. Any field service management firm that wants to succeed must have a passionate and driven staff.

Whatever your tools, processes, or business objectives are, they begin and end with passionate and engaged employees. Your job as a service operations manager is to create that sense of camaraderie, togetherness, and ambition. Organize staff meetings, have one-on-ones with your personnel, discuss issues other than work, and demonstrate a genuine interest in their long-term goals.

Change

The world is constantly changing, and service operations managers must change. The days of predictable workflows, fixed schedules, and unchanging business models are over. You must be flexible and adaptive to keep up with the latest trends.

The best way to do this is to stay on top of industry news, read books and articles on change management, and attend conferences related to your field. By continuously learning and keeping up with the latest changes, you will be able to make the necessary adjustments in your work.

How Do Service Operation Managers Create a Complete Operations Management Cycle?

Service operations managers are responsible for creating a complete operations management cycle. It includes planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the resources and activities needed to provide a service. They use different tools to measure and track service quality, customer satisfaction, and employee performance. Additionally, they develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure the service is delivered effectively and efficiently.

Challenges for Service Operation Managers

Service operations managers face many hurdles daily. They must ensure that the service is delivered according to the agreed-upon standards while meeting the customer’s needs. Additionally, they need to motivate employees to provide excellent service and meet targets. They also need to monitor and improve the quality of the service continuously.

Some of the challenges faced by service operations managers include:

  • Interacting with various departments that are frequently not in the office
  • Ensuring that all parties have easy access to essential information and data
  • Providing feedback and updates in real-time
  • Capturing and reporting on metrics around the teams they support
  • Creating long-term, efficient working procedures to improve performance
Robertson Paredes

SafetyCulture staff writer

Rob Paredes

Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.

Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.